Learning Commons Coming This Fall

Rendering of the new Library Learning Commons
Rendering of the new Library Learning Commons


On May 14, construction began on the first phase of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Learning Commons.

The project updates a key area just inside the library’s front door, where students can meet to study, work on group projects or just relax with a book.

“The library’s physical structure hasn’t been modernized since construction was completed in 1978,” said Shali Zhang, dean of the library. “A lot has changed in 40 years.”

Technological shifts have transformed the way students work and learn together, and the Learning Commons thoughtfully addresses those changes. The project brings light into the northwest corner of the library by removing concrete panels from the building’s exterior and adding new, energy-efficient overhead lighting. Furnishings will be clustered in group-friendly learning pods for student work and meetings. Students will have easy access to data ports and power outlets throughout the Learning Commons. An area will even be equipped to handle small classes or public lectures.

Construction was generously funded by private donors. Fundraising is ongoing, and with additional donations, the library will continue with the second phase of renovations.

The library remains open during construction, which will be 90 percent complete by the beginning of fall semester, and finished by the end of the year.

To learn how you can support this project, contact Chris Ritrievi, vice president for development, at chris.ritrievi@supportum.org or 406.243.2593.